With proper dental care habits, your teeth can last a lifetime. Still, some amount of tooth abrasion and other forms of tooth wear are common. Learn more below about this condition, its causes, and what you can do to prevent and treat it.
5 Common Questions on Tooth Abrasion
What is tooth abrasion?
Tooth abrasion refers to tooth wear caused by abnormal pressure on the teeth. If left untreated, it will deteriorate tooth enamel, causing sensitivity to hot and cold, ridges on the surfaces of the teeth, and cavities. In severe cases, it can work its way to the inner part of the teeth, compromising the root and eventually leading to tooth loss.
How does it differ from attrition and erosion?
Attrition is tooth wear resulting from tooth-on-tooth friction. Chewing causes most attrition, but the condition is more pronounced in people who grind their teeth or clench their jaw.
Erosion is not caused by pressure or friction, but rather by acids on the teeth. Tooth erosion is most common in people who drink a lot of carbonated soft drinks and acidic beverages such as fruit juices, and those who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Abrasion is typically caused by mechanical actions aside from chewing, such as harsh brushing or biting down on hard objects.
How can I prevent tooth abrasion?
Gentle dental cleaning is the key to averting tooth abrasion. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your teeth in a circular motion instead of back and forth. Refrain from chewing on items such as fingernails and pencils, and avoid using your teeth as tools to hold items or open packages.
How does toothpaste affect abrasion?
Some toothpastes accelerate abrasion because they’re harsh on the tooth enamel. Look for toothpastes that contain a mild abrasive agent such baking soda, or ones formulated for sensitive teeth. Whitening toothpastes are often harder on your enamel. If you’d like to whiten your teeth, ask your dentist about safe options.
Can I reverse tooth abrasion?
Once your teeth have been worn down by abrasion, the damage can’t be undone. However, your dentist may be able to treat its effects. Dental fillings can be used to mend cavities and V-shaped ridges, and dental crowns can cap teeth that have more extensive conditions.
Brian E. Yamamoto DDS in Fairbanks, AK, has been providing quality dental care for over 30 years. Whether you need treatment for tooth abrasion or any other general dentistry services, Dr. Yamamoto and his caring team are dedicated to making your visit as worry- and pain-free as possible. Call (907) 452-5547 to schedule an appointment, or visit their website to learn more about the practice.